The challenges to the global economy and slow economic growth will continue this year, said IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. Delivering her traditional “curtain raiser” speech before the opening of the IMF and World Bank Spring meetings, she anticipated a 3% growth this year, below 3.4% last year.
“The IMF is reporting bad news for wealthy and poor countries,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. LeCompte monitored IMF policies for more than a decade. “The vulnerable are struggling with the pandemic, inflation and rising food prices.”
For the poorest countries, the IMF chief sees higher debt payments and lower demand for what they export. This could fuel further hunger and poverty increases.
Sixty percent of low-income countries and a quarter of emerging economies are at or near debt crises. Since February the IMF initiated, alongside the Indian Presidency of the G20 and the World Bank, a Global Sovereign Debt Roundtable to resolve disagreements that stall debt relief processes.
“While more countries face debt crises, we still don't have a fully functioning debt relief process,” noted LeCompte. "Developing countries need debt relief and access to more resources."
Georgieva called for donor countries to address funding shortfalls so the IMF maintains capacity to provide interest-free loans to the poorest members.
Watch the curtain-raiser speech here.